Have you ever made a mistake, regretted it, and kept on feeling guilty about it for the longest time? Guilt is a normal thing that most of us have experienced in our lives.
There are many things that can cause a person to feel guilty. This may be due to our own fault; for example, when we realize that we have done a bad thing to the people who care about us. However, sometimes our guilt can come from things that we have nothing to do with. For example, when someone feels guilty because she/he has a better life than her/his friend. Basically, guilt comes when we believe we have failed to reach out an expectation or standard set by ourselves or even others.
Guilt actually has a positive side where it can be the push to someone to grow as a person.
You can read more about how our each of our different emotions have positive purposes in “Emotions are Healthy“.
Uncomfortable feelings that come from this emotion can provide a strong motivation for us to apologize, correct, make amends, take responsibility, and strive to be better.
But if this particular emotion begins to dominate and take over our lives, it can certainly become something that disturbs and eventually harm ourselves and even others. Especially when that guilt sprung out from something that we cannot actually control.
Therefore, it is important to be able to manage our guilt so that it does not continue to become a burden that weighs us all the time. Here are some tips you can do to deal with it. Keep reading KALMers!
Admit the Feeling
Try not to run away from your guilt. You may think that by running away from it, it will eventually no longer trouble your mind. But it would just be the same as trying to tell someone not to imagine a pink elephant(you just immediately imagine a pink elephant, did you not?). The more we try to run away from our guilt, the stronger it grows.
Even if it is uncomfortable, try to accept it first. Tell yourself, “Okay, what I am feeling right now is guilt.”
Identify the Cause
As mentioned above, there are so many things that could make people feel guilty. Either it is because of our own behavior or because of something that is beyond our control. So, KALMers what makes you feel guilty? Do you really know why?
It is normal to feel guilty if we made a mistake and we are rightly the one supposed to take the blame. But it is not normal if it comes from something that is actually beyond our control.
If KALMers continue to struggle with unusual guilt, do not hesitate to consult with a professional, okay? In the KALM application, you can discuss it with professional Kalmselors.
There is nothing more relieving when we feel guilty than apologizing to the other person. Apologizing is often the best thing we can do after we make a mistake. By apologizing, we convey our regret to the person who was hurt and communicate a promise to not to make the same mistake.
A sincere apology will also help us to heal. By apologizing we give ourselves the opportunity to express our feelings and admit the harm done. If KALMers find it difficult or impossible to apologize verbally, there is nothing wrong with writing an apology letter.
More than that, we may also have to apologize and forgive ourselves. Instead of just blaming and punishing yourself after making a mistake, remember that no one does everything right all the time.
Change Self-criticism into Self-compassion
Guilt can trigger us to criticize ourselves harshly and unfairly but punishing yourself with self-criticism will not fix anything.
If someone has apologized to you sincerely but he continues to punish himself, what will you do to her/him?
Would you not try to calm them down and try to encourage them instead? Their strength, the kindness that they have been given to us, and also that KALMers value them for their existence. Well, this is also valid to ourselves. Instead of blaming yourself after apologizing, try to remember how valuable we are. Don’t forget, even though we have done wrong we are still deserving to be loved.
When guilt haunts us, we are more likely to feel useless. When that happens try repositioning the guilt feeling into a gratitude feeling.
For example, when we have identified the guilt and said, “I feel guilty because my parents still have to support me even though I am a grown adult,” continue that statement with, “But I am grateful that my parents are still able and willing to help me financially.”
Obviously this is not easy, right KALMers? To be able to turn our guilt into gratitude will take a lot of practice. KALMers can use the Gratitude Journal in the KALM Application (download here) to write and remind yourself of things to be grateful for, every day. This will gradually help you get rid of the persisting guilt.
Written by: Rachma Fitrianing Lestari
Edited by: Lukas Limanjaya
Translated by: Rachma Fitrianing Lestari
Raypole, C. (2020, November 22). Guilt makes a heavy burden. Don’t let it drag you down. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-stop-feeling-guilty
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